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demitasse | In The Eye Photograhy

Author archives: demitasse

Meet Hilary, pastry chef.

How did your passion for baking start?

For as long as I can remember, I have always been in love with the magic of baking! As a young
child, I would look up wide-eyed as I watched my grandma create these beautiful pies for our
birthdays and holiday celebrations. She taught me how to make pie crust by hand, how to
carefully crimp the edges of the dough, and was always willing to try my new ideas! As I grew
older, I became more adventurous in my recipe choices and I started to get super excited about
the chemistry and science of baking. I love how you can start with the same basic ingredients
but your techniques, temperature, and baking method can yield wildly different results. This
enthusiasm and fascination led me to pursue an associate’s degree in pastry art in 2014! Once I
started working as a professional, I was able to truly hone my skills and focus on consistency
and speed in a large scale production environment. Working in a busy kitchen is an experience
that I wish everyone could have. It pushes you to develop production speed, fast reflexes,
discipline, quick communication, and problem solving skills in addition to appreciating the joy of
hard work and creating amazing food for others. These are life skills that I will always carry with
me! Over the past few years, my passion for baking has shifted and changed a bit. I still love it
intensely, but I know that it’s time to chase my next career dream. I left my pastry position at
Terrain at the end of May and I will be starting graduate school in a couple weeks for digital
marketing! I’m an avid food photographer as well and I hope to someday combine my visual
skills with my food knowledge into a successful career.

Where do you find your inspiration for each of your creations?

I am inspired by a few things: balanced flavors, varied textures, and aesthetic beauty. My
favorite desserts usually contain herbal or floral notes! I love using things straight from the
garden when I can, especially summer fruit. I am often attracted to more rustic styles; I love
French breakfast pastries and I don’t like anything overly sweet. I’m a pastry chef who doesn’t
have a big sweet tooth! I’ll take fruit pie over chocolate cake any day. My absolute favorite
pastry is a fresh “kouign amann.” Imagine croissant dough rolled in sugar (and salt!) before
being carefully folded and tucked into a metal ring for baking. The result is out of this world! It’s
both sweet and salty, super flaky, and the sugar on the bottom melts into a crunchy caramel
layer that dreams are made of. You can visit my friends at the Malvern Buttery to try one
yourself!

Is there anyone who’s been a big influence on what you do?

I had the privilege of working closely with pastry chef Robert Toland for the past five years at
Terrain in Glen Mills and he’s had a huge influence on what I have accomplished. His menu
vision and ideas always kept me learning and pushing to expand my own repertoire. He
introduced me to countless desserts and methods; his drive to try new things opened my eyes
to flavors, ingredients, and recipes that I never would have reached for! We have both recently
moved on from our roles at Terrain but I count him among my closest friends and it’s a
connection that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I can’t wait to work on another project
together.

What is your most well used cookbook?

To be honest, I have a habit of mostly using online resources for recipes. I do have a large
cookbook collection, but I don’t bake directly from it as often as I should! My most frequently
used resource is Deb Perelman’s blog smitten kitchen. The recipes are delicious, streamlined,
and heavily tested; every single thing I’ve made from her site has been amazing! She has a
wide variety of both savory and sweet recipes, ranging from weeknight dinners, to amazing
party appetizers, and wedding cake advice. She explains things in simple terms, tries to keep
dirty dishes to a minimum, and she’s hilarious. Check it out! I will add just a few of my cookbook
author favorites: Rose Levy Beranbaum for all things pastry, Erin Jeanne McDowell for pies, and
Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty and Plenty More for delicious vegetarian food. I am also a huge fan of
the New York Times Cooking section — they have excellent savory recipes, fun desserts, and
great videos!

How long have you lived in Kennett square? And What do you like most about Kennett
square?

I’ve lived here almost all my life! When I was two years old, my parents moved to a family farm
outside of Kennett. It has truly been an incredible place to grow up. This is where I got my start
as a professional baker! Dan and Dorothy Boxler of the Country Butcher hired me as their head
baker in 2013 and I spent a year learning the ins and outs of bakery production, ordering
ingredients, keeping track of inventory, taking custom cake orders, etc. It was a great place to
get my start! I adore the warmth and energy of this town. I love Kennett Square for its
welcoming support network and engaged community; over my lifetime, I have watched this
place evolve and grow into a vibrant town of extraordinary people and businesses with a strong
shared identity. After the past year and a half of fear and uncertainty, it’s particularly comforting
to see Kennett emerging as a thriving community once again.

TAGS: pastrychef

What initially attracted you to textiles as a medium?

I was always drawn to the weavers at artisan shows.  Not just the texture and colors but the mechanics fascinated me.  It is a tactile art and has such a rich history not just in this country but throughout the world.  It was an important part of the community in early societies.  I decided to take a class which led to several more before I felt confident enough to purchase my own loom.  Weaving is an organic art in that the loom is made from wood of trees grown from the earth, the fabrics are derived from wool from the animals and the end result provides fabric for rugs, clothing, household linens, etc. full circle.

What or who were your early influences and how has your life/upbringing influenced your work?

I grew up surrounded by fabric, my mother sewed.  She made all of her clothes, my own and even that for my dolls (much of which I still have today).  Her sewing table was tucked into an alcove in her bedroom and she allowed me to play amongst the bias tapes, spools of thread, cutting table and loads and loads of material bursting from her dresser.  I told myself I would never have a room so cluttered with stuff when I grew up – well there it is – I grew up to have a room dedicated to weaving with a 300 pound floor loom and loads of fabric and tools for my craft all around.

 

Tell us a bit about your process

The process starts with deciding what I want to make and then choosing the fabric.  I use reclaimed upholstery fabrics that otherwise would end up in the landfill.  I also repurpose jeans.  The fabric will tell me then what color to use for the warp (the vertical threads that go on the loom and weft (the horizontal threads that are hand thrown with a shuttle).  You measure your warp threads, dress the loom and begin to weave.  When done, you take your project off the loom and finish it off with sewing or braiding of the fringe.  I follow the traditional style of rag weaving using upholstery fabric as the weft.  You never know exactly what it will look like until you are finished.  Many of my products are wearable or for the home like table runners, wine totes, purses, pillows, and belt bags.

What currently inspires you and which other artists do you admire and why?

I am currently exploring the early colonial craft of coverlet weaving and hoping to explore more in the next year.  I love the history of the craft both from the woven item to the machinery it was produced on.  

Tell us about a piece of work you have fond memories of and why? 

I particularly like when the piece brings back memories for someone.  I had made a simple wine tote but the fabric reminded the person of their own grandmother.  She accidentally lost the bag but I still had fabric left and made another for her.  She was thrilled and I was able to give her back the memory.  

Meet Annie, the glass artist.

When did you first start making your glass art, and who or what inpsired you to begin?

I started making glass art a long time ago at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.  Over the years after I graduated I made art on the side while working in restaurants and gardening, but recently decided to focus on glass to see if I could make a career out of it.

What mediums or techniques do you work with?

I’ve been working lately with stained glass, specifically the tiffany style, which is copper tape and solder.  I sometimes do mosaic work which involves cutting glass, glueing to a surface and grouting.  I really enjoy exploring different processes and techniques and I just purchased a kiln to do some glass fusing and slumping.

Please tell us a bit about your design process?

My design process has gone through many changes over the years and varies depending on what I am making.  With my stained glass sun catchers I try not to rush an idea, I do a bit of light sketching and look at things that inspire me (mostly plants) until I finally get a design I like.  I then darken the lines with a thin sharpie so I can trace the glass.  Next comes choosing glass.  This might be my favorite part because the colors of the glass itself have a lot to do with inspiring the design in the first place. After colors are chosen I trace the design onto the glass on my light table, cut glass, grind glass, copper tape the edges, solder, add hangers, add a patina if I want, and then polish and clean! 

What is the main inspiration for your designs?

I find that my inspiration often comes from deep in my psyche and is very nostalgic.  My childhood was full of exploring nature and having adventures with my sisters, so I would say that along with the natural world I experience today in beautiful Chester County is the basis of my inspiration, coupled with my love for plants and interior design.  

What has been your favorite piece that you’ve made?

I would say my favorite piece would be a circle suncatcher that I recently made.  Shades of blue, geometric shapes, asymmetry and circles are things that I love very much and they are all included in this piece.  I don’t think it’s any crazy feat of skill or talent but I feel very satisfied with it’s authenticity.   

Meet Victoria, owner of TEXTILE, vintage+contemporary designers.

Please tell us about your journey to become a stylist and how did you first get into vintage clothing?

I have been a stylist for about ten years now.  I have always loved clothing and putting outfits together.  I was lucky enough to have a grandmother and mother who saved a lot of their favorite pieces from years past.  I love wearing vintage pieces!  I wanted to create a place where your favorite female designers and vintage collections could come mingle together.  And that is how TEXTILE was born. 

Where does your boutique name: Textile come from? How would you describe your boutique?

While trying to brainstorm a name for my first boutique, I was all over the place.  It’s a daunting task to name something you’ve dreamt about for a lifetime!  Fabrics and the tactile connection you have to an article of clothing is one of my favorite things.  A lot of people choose an item of clothing to wear because it feels good.  TEXTILE is an ode to fabrics and the creative process of fashion design. 

What was the first piece you fell in love with?

My mothers wedding dress is the very first piece I fell in love with.  It is this simple cream long sleeve column dress from 1975. The most beautiful figure hugging gown.  I fell in love with this as a child and that sparked the vintage lover forever!  I still have her dress today (preserved,) it’s the most important piece in my closet!  

What’s in your own closet?

I have quite the eclectic mix in my own closet.  I wear vintage clothing almost everyday.  I love pairing new contemporary pieces with vintage.  That is what you will find at TEXTILE.  A curated collection of vintage and also contemporary clothing!  I love denim.  Pairing denim with a cool vintage floral jacket or vintage lingerie is my go to.

Who are your style muses? 

My style muse has always evolved and changed from year to year.  But the women who have always had the most enviable style to me are Gwen Stefani and Kate Moss.  Eclectic, sexy, and unique.  

“I practice my soul and the compilation of my experiences on whatever paper or form will hold it.

To forever pursue an outward mark from an inward inkling is an accomplishment in and of itself.

It takes strength and magic and an unscratchable itch.

In the end, art is a solitary, personal and probably selfish experience, that exists intimately between the artist and the tools of the art.”—Diane Cirafesi

What do you like most about being an artist?

It seems there was never a choice in being an artist: it’s something you can’t NOT do. The gift Art brings is being able to process everything seen into some sort of image that stores itself in my psyche, and informs future work, whether consciously or subconsciously. And I kind of like that part of it: it’s a vision-driven life.

Which artist or painter influenced you?

I am influenced by most every artist that I have viewed, but tend toward those who evoke some sort of iconography, spiritual, abstract realism… I really like deKooning, Larry Rivers, Jim Dine, Picasso….anyone whose work reflects thought and purpose of mark.

What kind of creative patterns,routines or rituals do you have?

My circadian clock usually has me creating from late afternoon to late in the night.

What is the hardest part of creating a painting?

Deciding when to stop. Which can be never.

What are you working on now?
The same work I have been working on since I picked up a pencil as a child…it’s always and ever just one giant piece of work, strung together by different media.

Meet Catherine, she is a Pianist, improviser, Steinway Artist.

Who or what inspired you to take up the piano, and pursue a career in music?

When I was 8, my parents bought me an 80 year old piano at a yard sale with a cracked soundboard.  My dad who was good with woodworking repaired the soundboard and built me a piano bench.  I played non-stop after that! I was a music minor in college when I discovered that I could improvise, and the music started coming in torrents after that.  Even though I was performing classical and my original music in many solo concerts a year, it wasn’t until five years after graduation that I decided to leave my corporate job and pursue music full time.  By that point I had released two albums and was performing throughout the region!

Who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?

Pianist George Winston, Cellist David Darling and his organization Music for People, and Pianist Dr. Robert Bedford.

Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?

River Flow, Maiden’s Voyage and I Dream About This World: The Wyeth Album.

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?

Learning to be self-aware enough to know when I need to practice and continually improve!

How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?

Purely by emotion, and a reflection of my state of being! I have found that some years I’m more melancholy and want simplicity and depth, others I’ve craved structure and light-heartedness, and others I seek a deep-dive into intellectual and technical challenge.

Meet Tara, Freelance writer, Communications coordinator at Historic Kennett Square.

What has influenced you as writer?

I was recently at an author reading where a college student asked for advice on overcoming writer’s block. After giving a few of the usual tips, this writer said, “And maybe you’ll have to live a little before you find your stories.” That resonated with me, as I’ve always been immersed in words—as a reader, student, editor, and writer—but only more recently have I found inspirational writer-mentors (through the MFA program at Rosemont College) who have helped me see how I can shape and tell the stories I’ve always wanted to write. So I would say everything I’ve experienced in 52 years has influenced me as a writer—particularly perhaps motherhood, nature, and a strong sense of place rooted in the places I’ve lived (New England, Ireland, and now Pennsylvania).

What do you think makes a good story?

Conflict, desire, and complicated characters—but also beautiful, lyrical language.

Can you tell us a little bit about your project with your grandfather’s lifelong diaries?

My grandfather kept a daily diary from the day he married in 1939 until the day before he died in 1989. He was a bank president, and so most entries log bank activity as well as weather data, births, deaths, and marriages. But the tidbits of personal reflection he recorded tell a deeper, richer story of our family and life in a small border community in northern Vermont over these decades of significant change. My MFA thesis is a collection of lyric essays exploring what gets passed down from generation to generation, and his diary entries operate as an authoritative outside voice in many of the pieces. I’ve also been surprised by how some of the apparently mundane data in his diaries—for instance, the weather—inform deeper threads of stories about people and place.

Do you have any suggestions to help people become a better writer?

I think I’d say tuning in to all five senses in varied life experiences. And lots of practice. Also—and having spent most of my career as an editor, I can’t stress this enough—taking time to let what you’ve written settle before going back to revise and trim every word that’s not serving a purpose. One of the best courses I took in my MFA program was on flash fiction. The discipline of having to write a story in 200, 100, or even 50 or fewer words helped me to see the bones of a story and taught me the power of deletion.

How long have you been living in Kennett Square? What do you love most about Kennett Square? 

My husband Andrew and I moved here from Dublin with our two children in 2008. I especially love being able to walk most places, the creative people, synergy, and diversity of our community, the beautiful landscape, and the proximity to Philadelphia and New York City. I only wish it were a little closer to Boston, where our daughter now lives—and Dublin, where our son is studying!

I found Rebecca’s work in a west chester interior store and I loved it. I think we have something in common–our subjects are women.

1.    How and when did you decide to be a painter? 

I started painting about five years ago. I left my job in New York City as a magazine editor to stay home with my son and was in search of a new creative outlet after moving to the Philly suburbs. I’ve always loved art and interior design and thought why not? My sister was moving abroad and gave me some old paints she had lying around so I began to experiment. 

2.    Who were the artists inspired you most? 

There are so many amazing artists on Instagram that inspired me to start painting–women that are professionally trained, self-taught, painting with a kid under one arm. I’m currently saving up for a Claire Johnson collage or a Rebecca Russo portrait or a Gee Gee Collins anything. I’m obsessed with Milton Avery’s use of color and patiently waiting for a nearby museum to give him an exhibit. 

3.    Do you work from life, photographs or from imagination?

I work from photographs to find poses for my figures and then let color and imagination take it from there. 

4.    Please tell us some of your considerations when using color in your work? what sort of paints do you put out on your palette?

Color makes me happy! Acrylic and oil pastel are my go-to mediums and I find a lot of pleasure just mixing paints on my palette. I love the way color creates a mood. A mark of fuchsia or indigo or chartreuse can totally transform a painting. Finding the perfect color composition is one of the most rewarding aspects of painting for me. In many ways I find the process similar to writing. It’s all about piecing together a puzzle.

5.    what are you working on now? 

I’m working on a still life commission for a friend’s new office and gearing up to try some different substrates like wood and unbleached linen. 

“Creating is an integral part of my life.  Working with clay, other natural materials, and metal connects with Earth.  Their transformation is alluring and fascinating to me – as it has been to humans through the ages.  Myths, animals and other forms of nature  influence my work.  Capturing and expressing the essence or spirit, not soley a realistic portrayal, is my goal.  I would be delighted if my functional work is enjoyed in everyday use and my non-functional work provides visual pleasure/provokes contemplation.”–Jill Beech

“I first took a ceramics class around 1981 and immediately felt an affinity and bond with clay.  Since then, I have taken many classes, mostly in hand-building, and nearly all at Penland School of Crafts – a truly inspirational place with great artists and teachers.  As my passion and involvement increased, I built a large gas kiln to expand firing capabilities beyond electric.  Until 2011 when I retired, I was a veterinarian on the UPenn Veterinary School faculty so I juggled time between the studio and working at New Bolton Center, in the large animal hospital.  Since then, I have been able to devote much more time to working in my studio adjacent to my home.”

“My functional and sculptural work is mainly made from porcelain or stoneware clay, and less frequently low fire earthenware clay.  Some of my hand built forms are perforated with hundreds of varying sized and shaped holes whilst still damp and malleable; they are then dried, fired to a low temperature ( approximately 1800 F) then sandblasted, and finally re-fired to a higher temperature, usually between 2100-2300F.  Glazes or stains are applied to some pieces.  Others have multiple layers of different coloured slips (clay suspension) applied and then rubbed through to reveal different colours, and some are left unadorned, revealing just the clay itself. Some are mounted on steel stands that I forged. I have sometimes used metal containing paint on the final fired piece to give forms the appearance of metal.  Encaustics have been used on some vessels to create layers on the surface, giving subtle colour changes and texture. Less frequently, on the low fired non-functional earthenware pieces, I paint multiple layers of acryllic paint. Horses, and to less extent other animals, influence both the forms as well as the images on the decorated surfaces of functional ware. Imagery from travel also has influenced forms.”

“Over the last few years, in addition to working with clay, I have worked with copper fold-forming,( using commercial patinas on the finished forms, and making wall panels, leaves for mobiles,  and wearable wrist cuffs), clay monoprinting,( influenced by  the late Mitch Lyons, who had a studio in London Grove) , hand made paper, recycled cardboard,  paper sculpture, and also  wire sculptures.   I particularly like Kozo for  making paper, and sometimes use encaustics on  surfaces.  My studio is near Ercildoun and is open by appointment and at my yearly open studio days.”

Meet Jan, the founder of AHHAH–arts holding hand and hearts.

1. Can you tell us a little bit  about yourself ?

My life has been a winding road full of many wonderful twists and turns that have all lead me to AHHAH.
I grew up in Nashville and was going to major in psychology but was invited to act in a summer theatre program my senior year and was hooked and changed my major to theatre.  I was a professional actress in NYC for 18 years, even was in a a horror film, Mad  Man where I get axed in the chest and my head shot off (that always grabs the attention of youth in detention when I share that tidbit).  
I have a BA degree in Theatre and a Master’s in Education, my thesis was “Does and Arts Infused Curriculum enhance the academic success of children labeled “at risk”?”
I have two children, Ian who is 35 and a lawyer in Norristown, and Caitlin who is  31, an artist, dancer and the most amazing mother of my 2 year old grandson in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
We moved to Unionville 25 years ago.  I started a ‘Science Alive’ program at Unionville Elementary school when it was a K-3 school when my daughter was in 1st grade and then was hired to bring the program to Chadds Ford Elementary.  After getting my Master in Education, I moved on up to Patton Middle School and  taught English, Science, Life Management Skills and assisted the after school drama program.
My husband had worked at the World Trade Center in NYC.  I had always said when my children were grown and I was a grandmother I would go back to acting.  After 9/11 I realized that if you have a dream, you can’t put it on a shelf and say “one day” but pursue it now.  I finished that school year and once again pursued acting this time in Philadelphia.  
My first day not teaching, I was cast in a show “Snow is Falling” with Philadelphia Young Playwrights. During the rehearsals, when they found out that I had been a teacher, I was asked to be a teaching artist teaching playwriting with children in inner city schools in Philadelphia.  A truly AHHAH moment.  I was a teaching artist for both PYP and the Philadelphia Theatre Company for 8 years.  

I also lead the drama program with the Philadelphia Senior Center across the street from Suzanne Roberts Theatre and was a member of CAAN- Creative Arts and Aging Network.  I was part of the planning committee for a town hall meeting at World Live Cafe in 2002 of the importance of professional arts programming with seniors that was a nationwide movement to get funding for professional senior arts programming. The theme of the town hall meeting was think globally but act locally. 

2. When and why did you start AHHAH? 

I started an intergenerational program called Hands Across the Ages which combined senior citizens at the Kennett Senior Center and teenagers at the Garage to share their stories and break down the walls between the generations.  The teens came to the senior center after school for workshops where we used theatre techniques to build connections.  The next year the seniors went to the high school as part of an after school program.
I brought this program to Philadelphia Theatre Company as part of their “Philly Reality” program.  I worked with the Philadelphia Senior Center and the World Communications Charter School which was across the street.   Fall of 2012 they picked the issue of bullying in school and that we need more arts education not more guards with guns.  The piece they wrote together was, “I AM LIVING”.  December 12 was the Sandy Hook killing.  I AM LIVING was performed to a packed audience at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre.  At the talk back after the performance, young and old shared having been either bullied or being a bully, not realizing the impact of words to hurt a person and became advocates to stop bullying.
Three weeks later I found out that  three of the inner city schools where I was teaching were closing and three weeks after than I found out that funding for the arts of the other inner city schools was being cut.  I said to the director of education at PTC that if the government does not believe that children in poverty deserve an arts education and are just going to funnel them into the prison system, then we need to bring our programs to the children in the juvenile justice system.
The education director said they didn’t go there and I said, ” I guess I have to open my own organization that does.”  I quit my job.
I get up early in the morning 4 am  to meditate ( that’s when my husband starts snoring and I felt it was better to get up and meditate instead of tossing and turning with a pillow over my ears or his head!) and journal.  The day after I quit I journaled and asked  “Ok what do I do now, and as if channelled my hand wrote, AHHAH.  I wrote what does AHHAH stand for and I wrote Arts Holding Hands and Hearts.  I closed my journal and said to myself, “I guess that’s my new organization.”  

3. Can you share some stories from AHHAH programs?

I teach 6 am yoga at Yoga Secrets in Kennett. That morning after teaching I asked, Can anyone get me into the prisons legally.
There was a new person in class who said she was a parole officer and said I need to talk to Carrie Avery and Joe Frankenstein at the Chester County Youth Center.  I said,”Is this a horror film joke, Carrie and Frankenstein! It wasn’t.  I met with Carrie and Joe and a week later I started a weekly trauma sensitive yoga class.  Three months later we started a creative writing program.  That was in 2013.
The first writing program was with girls in the shelter for homeless and abused girls at CCYC. There were 4 girls, all from Coatesville.  The first girl who shared was Sarena, who wrote, “I am the daughter of a teenage mother who was the daughter of a teenage mother who was the daughter of a teenage mother with no father in sight.”  The next girl who shared wrote about being raped at 12 by her uncle while her mother was in the room and the baby crying that stopped him from taking her again but she forgave him because she knew that she would be in prison in her heart if she didn’t forgive.  I knew then that AHHAH had to make Coatesville our base to see how we could stop the youth from Coatesville entering the juvenile justice system.
Our first grant was a 21st Century Learning Center grant and we facilitated trauma sensitive yoga and after school playwriting classes with students at Scott Middle School in 2014.  We then found out that children in kindergarten were being suspended in Coatesville.  We knew if we were going to be more than a bandaide we needed to reach families with children 0-5.  We started a Family Story Time Yoga program for children 2-5 with a caregiver at the Coatesville Library.
One of the mothers in our first class, mother was a teacher in Early Start a program with Head Start.  She introduced us to the director of Coatesville Head Start and we facilitated Storytime Yoga for free to 5 Head Start classes in Coatesville.  2019 AHHAH brings our Storytime Yoga program to over 400 children in Chester County.
 In my research of why so many children in poverty enter the juvenile justice system I found statistics that children in poverty are exposed to 30 MILLION words less by the time they are five than children in a middle class or more affluent household.
2015 was the City of Coatesville’s 100 anniversary.  I spearheaded a “PULL” (Pop Up Lending Library) Campaign to get 100 both indoor and outdoor PULL Stations throughout Coatesville.
2018 the Longwood Rotary gave AHHAH $1500 for materials to build 10 PULL Stations in Kennett Square. The Kennett Square community embraced the PULL Campaign.  AHHAH partnered with the Kennett Library and the Kennett Culture and Arts group in identifying locations, artists, and collection of books.

Please check AHHAH website for more information:www.artsholdinghandsandhearts.com